“I will be all right if you hold me” repeats Jhon Balance in “Sex With Sun Ra”. One dead man singing about another dead man.
While not quite the eerie moment of “Tattooed Man” on The Ape of Naples, it is genuinely difficult for a fan to separate the intended and accidental inferences and references from this semi-public parade of self-inflicted wonders and tragedies. Black Antlers reminds us of the stunning breadth of Coil‘s work: a pastoral cover of “All the Pretty Little Horses”; abrasive blasts (“Wraiths and Strays”) and gentle oddities (“The Gimp”); an amazing reworking of “Teenage Lightning”; the multi-layered sadness and longing of “Sex With Sun Ra”; and a very odd-but-excellent cover of a very early acid house track.
I’ve toyed with the idea of doing a large scale Coil guide, along the lines of the one I did for Venetian Snares, but such a project would take weeks and lords knows others have done it already. I am not a David Toop or related meta-thinker when it comes to music and the interrelated webs of influence and “singing back to the text” and all that kind of stuff. At best I am an impressionist painter of words and a minor wit, trying to translate the ineffable into the comprehensible, for both myself and others. I don’t really “get it” either, but some day I hope to.
I would like to think that among friends and neighbors my odd tastes are balanced by the acceptance that I know some of what I talk about – at least some of the time. So when I say unto you, dear people, do not listen to this album while driving, I am not merely engaging in some kind of erratic hyperbole, nor am I buying into some kind of homoerotic masculinist cult approach to “penile soundscapes” and the like. I am instead buying into the idea that distracted people moving a two thousand pound death machine are a hazard, both moral and physical.
I will go further than this – sensitive people do not mix well with this sort of music, especially if they are given to drug taking or nervousness. I spent enough time in my late teens and early twenties babysitting people who thought it would be fun to “trip out” but didn’t reckon on having to deal with their mind thrown up on a drive-in movie screen twice the size of the universe. Either they hadn’t been told, dealt only with the fratboy mindset or they’d simply chosen to ignore warnings from reasonable, responsible people, and as such got themselves into a corner with The Fear and had no way out. Not that it isn’t fun to tell someone that everything will be ok every two minutes for an hour and a half, of course, but – ok, I’m kidding. It’s not fun at all.
This piece of work is like The Fear in album form. Either you deal with it or it deals with you. Continue reading